Despite the many visionary advances made by the greatest minds of human civilization, the world may actually be getting more shortsighted. Refractive vision problems are haunting the steps of humankind at the turn of the century. A combination of genetics, near-sighted work as well as poor eye habits and even diet, have all conspired to bring about a reliance on artificial aids in order to appreciate better vision.

This is ever apparent in Asia with the representative likes of Japan, Taiwan and Singapore experiencing increasing rates of myopia. To take a country like Singapore, every other person to be tapped on the shoulder along the street could likely be using some form of corrective eyewear. Shopping complexes abound with spectacles and contact lens retailers that cater to an ever-growing number of individuals in search of a better view of the world.

Corrective eyewear may actually have a rightful place. The status of an individual can be inferred from the brand of spectacles worn while coloured contact lenses can often confer variety and aesthetic value. Add-on lenses and accessories are readily available to suit a variety of needs or tastes. Spectacles may even protect the eye from physical damage. The use of corrective eyewear like spectacles is minimally invasive and furthermore, unlikely to result in any long-term risk of complications. Taking it simply, what is the worst that could happen? A couple of unsightly marks on an otherwise healthy-looking nose?

The use of spectacles can however, hinder a sporty and active lifestyle. For a young child, the term ‘four-eyes’ is often coined by classmates and is damaging to the self- esteem. For a teenager seeking a date or an adult in search of a mate, spectacles are often construed as disadvantageous. Wearing a smart-looking pair of spectacles can often imply a learned individual but even Clark Kent only realizes attraction with Louis Lane and flies as ‘Superman’ once the glasses come off.

The use of contact lenses provides aesthetic improvement while correcting vision. There is however a significant burden of increased direct costs associated with the regular purchasing of replacements, cleaning solutions and wetting drops. Indirect costs associated with safety and convenience, are also significantly burdensome. Contact lenses must be put on and taken off with care to avoid infecting the eye. Regardless of the individual care taken, the sterility of manufactured lens solutions can still be compromised. This was evidenced in Singapore in 2014 by a sudden surge in the rate of a specific fungal eye infection detected originally by doctors at the Singapore National Eye Center. This occurred as a result of the contamination of a well-known contact lens solution that eventually led to a worldwide recall of the product.

To take an ideal scenario, the genes conferring perfect sight would be consistently propagated giving rise to the unhindered joy of natural vision to everyone. In an imperfect world however, the shaking of hands between science and technology has begun to return the gift of natural vision to many who seek it. This harmonious agreement is today known as LASIK, involving the use of laser light to remodel the cornea of the eye, and was first conceived of by the ancient Greeks. You may visit an eye doctor to know the lasik cost.

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